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RPG Superstar 2015

What are the best level 1 PFS builds?


Advice

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Scarab Sages

Ya know, cheezy power builds really need to have a day in society play when they finally get screwed. Earning prestige really needs to be more difficult as far as simply having the cleric make diplomacy rolls for 3 power mongers that are 1st level with 20 str and 5 cha. But hey I guess everyones idea of fun is different.


hey, my cheese build includes a ridiculous bluff and diplomacy sorcerer to get my prestige. and it also means i'm incredibly good at asking people with perception to find things for me, really politely. i have a 28str lion to kill stuff for me :)

that usually covers most missions.


If i was to play pfs (sadly i don't think there are any games near me :() i'd probably go with

Spoiler:
Angel Blooded Bard Dawnflower Dervish

12 str 0 points
20 Dex 17 points +2 race
12 Con 2 points
10 Int 0 points
08 Wis -2 points
15 Cha 3 points

Hp 10 (+1 con +1 favored)
Ac 18 (studded leather + dex)

+1 Fort
+7 Ref
+1 Wil

Maestro of the Society
Reactionary (or possibly Andoran Faction and Hunters Eye for long bow archery fun)

Feats
Extra Performance = 15 rounds/day

Scimitar +5 to hit 1d6+5 damage
Short Bow +5 to hit 1d6 damage

Alter self 1/ day buffs to (size small) +7 to hit 1d4+6 damage and +1 ac
Battle Dance 15 rounds/day adds +2 to hit and damage

6 skill points should cover most faction mission issues


I think it's a pfs legal character but then i am no expert.

Star Voter 2013

Wow, you're character isn't legal at all. Based off what I'm reading, your Race gives you +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom and +2 Charisma.

Angel Blooded is an Aasimar alternate racial type, and it only gives +2 Str, +2 Cha. So I have no idea where you're getting your numbers from.


Tels wrote:

Wow, you're character isn't legal at all. Based off what I'm reading, your Race gives you +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom and +2 Charisma.

Angel Blooded is an Aasimar alternate racial type, and it only gives +2 Str, +2 Cha. So I have no idea where you're getting your numbers from.

Oops the +2 dex is a hold over from a previous build the -2 wisdom a stat dump :). Thanks for the catch Tels.

Edit: lets try this again

Spoiler:
Angel Blooded Bard Dawnflower Dervish

12 str 0 points +2 race
18 Dex 17 points
12 Con 2 points = 19 total
10 Int 0 points
08 Wis -2 points =17 total
15 Cha 3 points = 20 total +2 race

Hp 10 (+1 con +1 favored)
Ac 17 (studded leather + dex)

+1 Fort
+6 Ref
+1 Wil

Maestro of the Society
Reactionary (or possibly Andoran Faction and Hunters Eye for long bow archery fun)

Feats
Extra Performance = 15 rounds/day

Scimitar +4 to hit 1d6+4 damage
Short Bow +4 to hit 1d6 damage

Alter self 1/ day buffs to (size small) +6 to hit 1d4+5 damage and +2 ac
Battle Dance 15 rounds/day adds +2 to hit and damage

6 skill points should cover most faction mission issues

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Finlanderboy wrote:

I think that is a good reason for what it is for. You can continue building the class if you wish. It is greta for new people to have something powerufl and fun to play when they do not know the game. When you play at a table where everyone else can power game your pregen looks sad and worthless.

It keeps new people interested.

This is about one of the WORST things I've read on this forum. It's a horrible way to teach new people how to play this game. And it's also completely unnecessary. Pathfinder Society is about being a roleplaying game, not building cookie-cutter builds for your next World of Warcraft raid.

What compounds the problem is that your approach isn't even necessary. The game is not balanced with the assumption that the players are going to have to bring munchkin characters to the cable, and the retraining rule was definitely NOT intended to be exploited like this.

This fails on several levels, you're forcing your style on play on new players by teaching it as the default, you're shoving roleplay in favor of rules manipulation, and worst of all... you're taking the sheer fun out of the game by your over competitive and gamist approach.


Tels wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Tels wrote:
Sleet Storm wrote:
Here's mine: Fighter Strenght 20, Greatsword,Powerattack,Toughness.Beats everything at level 1:)

Human Fighter, Strength 20, Falchion, Power Attack, Furious Focus, Toughness. Beats your fighter.

Raging Human Barbarian Strength 24 (raging), Power Attack, Furious Focus, Falchion. Probably beats them both.

Why would you take Furious Focus instead of Weapon Focus?

Also, now I'm having fun imagining a roc-riding gnome cackling madly as it flies through the air, shooting blowdart after blowdart at the enraged barbarian until he looks like a pincushion.

No penalty for Power Attacking. Furious Focus removes the Power Attack penalty for your first attack. Since you only have 1 attack in a round (short of Two-Weapon Fighting) until 6th level, Furious Focus is better than Weapon Focus. A Power Attack, Furious Focus, Weapon Focus character would probably dish out more damage, but less HP. Though I think a bonus of 3 hp vs a Power Attacking Barbarian isn't really all that useful.

Am I missing something? Weapon Focus gives you +1 on all attacks, including AoOs. Furious Focus gives you +1 on a single attack per round. Until you get to BAB +4 and the power attack penalty increases, assuming you're not switching between weapon types Weapon Focus is strictly better because it applies to AoOs.

And all these barbarian builds may as add a natural attack:

Spoiler:
Half-Orc (Toothy)

strength 20, dexterity 14, constitution 14, intelligence 11, wisdom 7, charisma 7

feat: Power Attack

traits: Berserker of the Society, Blade of Mercy

weapon: greatsword (+7, 2d6+14 while raging), bite (+2, 1d4+4 while raging)


And as bonus, the greatsword damage is nonlethal, which is massively useful in PFS.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Psion-Psycho wrote:

Human

Fighter

-Stats (25 point buy)-
STR 14
DEX 16 (+2 racial) = 18
CON 14
INT 14
WIS 10
CHA 10

AC 22
Touch 15
Flat-Footed 17

Hit d20+4
Damage d6+2

-Feats-
01 Dodge, Shield Focus, Weapon Finesse

-Gear-
Heavy Steel Shield
Chain Shirt
Rapier

For the mid maxing 20 str characters with weapon focus still have to roll a 16+ on a d20 and the raging barbarian needs to roll a 14+. Also those characters usually dont have much ac so ya lol.

Okay, for one thing, this thread is about PFS builds which are 20pts, not 25pts.

Secondly, Weapon Finesse doesn't work with a heavy shield - you'll be applying your ACP from the shield to your attack rolls.


LazarX wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:

I think that is a good reason for what it is for. You can continue building the class if you wish. It is greta for new people to have something powerufl and fun to play when they do not know the game. When you play at a table where everyone else can power game your pregen looks sad and worthless.

It keeps new people interested.

This is about one of the WORST things I've read on this forum. It's a horrible way to teach new people how to play this game. And it's also completely unnecessary. Pathfinder Society is about being a roleplaying game, not building cookie-cutter builds for your next World of Warcraft raid.

What compounds the problem is that your approach isn't even necessary. The game is not balanced with the assumption that the players are going to have to bring munchkin characters to the cable, and the retraining rule was definitely NOT intended to be exploited like this.

This fails on several levels, you're forcing your style on play on new players by teaching it as the default, you're shoving roleplay in favor of rules manipulation, and worst of all... you're taking the sheer fun out of the game by your over competitive and gamist approach.

I don't understand this - how does handing players a cr***y pre-gen make for better roleplay than a combat-effective character? Remember, these are people who have not built their own character, so of course they won't be as into the roleplay as someone who knows the character. But that's not the fault of the fact that their character is optimized, it's the fault of the fact that they didn't bring their own character.

I don't see why you have to choose between roleplay and combat effectiveness - there's no reason an optimized character can't have just as good a roleplay experience as a standard pre-gen.

Jiggy wrote:
Secondly, Weapon Finesse doesn't work with a heavy shield - you'll be applying your ACP from the shield to your attack rolls.

Not if he's proficient - ACP applies to skill checks, not all dex-based rolls.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

RumpinRufus wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Secondly, Weapon Finesse doesn't work with a heavy shield - you'll be applying your ACP from the shield to your attack rolls.
Not if he's proficient -...

I'm talking about how Weapon Finesse works, not ACP in general.

Weapon Finesse wrote:
Benefit: With a light weapon, rapier, whip, or spiked chain made for a creature of your size category, you may use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier on attack rolls. If you carry a shield, its armor check penalty applies to your attack rolls.

Emphasis mine.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Making characters for new players that have ridiculous stats is not doing them a service. Some of these builds are so front-loaded or dedicated to one single thing, that you're actually worse off than a team of Meresiels.

Bad idea, especially the ones with 20 strength and 7 charisma and wisdom.


Tels wrote:
You still need to buy all the other things, like food, clothing, backpacks, rope, torches, waterskins etc.

Not necessarily. First set of clothes are free, so depending on what scenarios you play, you might not need anything other than a sunrod for a while. I've been through scenarios that took just a few hours of world time and all happened in-city.


Indivar wrote:
Ya know, cheezy power builds really need to have a day in society play when they finally get screwed. Earning prestige really needs to be more difficult as far as simply having the cleric make diplomacy rolls for 3 power mongers that are 1st level with 20 str and 5 cha. But hey I guess everyones idea of fun is different.

You know what is fun? Being forced to use an obscure knowledge roll at DC 15 at first level on a fighter or cleric, who gets 2 SPs per level. SOOOOO much fun.

Cause its much better roleplay to roll a dice and add a +4 instead of a +0 (or not even be allowed to roll higher than a 10 due to no rank penalty)

You know what extensive roleplay does in society play? Makes the scenario go on for freaking ever. The scenarios are 4+ combat plot trains with a few random skill rolls thrown in, not a huge amount of roleplay potential.

If somebody wants to make a super combat effective character, more power to them. It gets those oh so not good roleplay combats out of the way so your time for roleplay is actually longer. You should be thanking the "power mongers" for being so good at combat that the "thespians" have more time to roleplay.

Also, I don't know how much high level PFS play people here have under their belt, but anything above lvl 7 is potentially very deadly. Characters not geared for combat (and not the "I have a magic sword and shield, and do 1d8+4 damage" that some people think is good enough) will drag the party down, and will cause PC deaths (their own or others). There isn't any way to talk your away out of most combats due to the plot train that all scenarios have.

What PFS play is in reality: Its PUG dungeon. You show up to a PUG run with a "team build" or "unique character do not copy" there is a good chance that your PC won't mesh with the party, won't fill a needed role (unlike home games, the scenarios aren't custom built with party comp in mind) or will be specialized in something the scenario or party doesn't need. So how to be good in a pick up group? Be independently combat effective. Have more than 1 way to deal damage (melee and ranged is usually enough, my Str characters carry at least a few javelins at first level). Have at least 1 social skill (my half orc above uses intimidate, because that is what the rules support). Have the ability to swim without dying (many of the early scenarios have acrobatics check to avoid falling into water, if you can't take a 10 due to armor check penalties, you need to probably put ranks into swim). Then hope that you have enough skills on your character that you don't get tripped up by the dreaded "faction mission requires skill check that no character has", or the equally dreaded, "1 chance at check, have ranks but rolled badly".

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

@notabot: You and I are obviously playing very different games. We have interesting builds with personalities, and I learn things about other characters and my own as I play. This is only with 4 hours per slot, of course.

Our groups have indeed talked their way out of combats, and if you go to the same event it very infrequently has that PUG group feel that you claim to be present in PFS adventures.

If you're not having fun with it though, I don't know why you would continue with it. You could probably get the same enjoyment out of a computer game.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Just the other day I was playing at subtier 10-11 and had only two combats, out of a potential of something like five.

We won the day, had some great roleplay (both with NPCs and with each other), and I don't think anybody had a single stat at 20 back at first level. (In fact, even at 9th I still don't have a 20 anywhere.)


I get plenty of fun out it. When I get into a good group we face roll the combats (not always by damage, we had a 2 non overlapping bard, 1 summmoner, and 1 witch party that just destroyed the tian multi part adventure) and have tons of time to roleplay and mess around. When we get a good group we usually have the skills needed to pass the checks too, sometimes by dog piling assists (exception when its a seldom used knowledge check, must be done in secret, or its a 1 chance pass/fail and the main fails).

When I don't have fun is when we have too many snowflakes that are just not built well. I've GMed one of these, first steps part 1, almost a TPK because the party was truly awful. 5 man party, 1 precon, 2 "are you kidding me" bad characters, 1 well built trip bard, and 1 well built domain druid. Without the trip bard (druid was out of spells by the time of the dangerous encounter) it would have been a complete wipe. When I've played in such a group I've pretty much had to carry the party. My recently deceased samurai was the party face (intimidate build), the skill monkey (despite only 7 int), and the main damage dealer (18str and a 2handed weapon). She died eating a AoO so the rest of part could engage safely (crit on a x3 weapon, full health to dead dead in 1 hit, risk was worth it due to decent AC, happens).

@Jiggy

A 20 at first level gives up too much for to little. 18 after racials is all you need. 18str with 2 hands does 6 damage, which is 2 more than 16 str, while 20 only does 7. On casters the extra lvl 1 spell per day and 1 DC increase is also not worth the loss of dexx and con. Same thing goes with finesse characters, +1 to hit isn't worth hurting the other stats. As for higher level characters, its worth waiting for the +4 items, as 20 str is still not good and 1 first level spell is still not great. Higher level characters can bypass even scenario combats if they have the right powers. 9 level has dimension door,fly, invisibility, ect. Also a full diplomamancer character can just charm enemies. Just talking without dice rolling shouldn't get you out of encounters in society play. Also diplomacy take more than just a little bit of time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Has a Taldan fighter, I've been fairly successful in getting the skill monkeys to do my job for me when faction missions called for skills I had no hope in passing. In one case we beat down an NPC who'd set one of his traps for us, and made HIM take care of the disarm that the faction mission called for. And sometimes I don't get the faction mission done. The campaign isn't built with the assumption that you're going to get them all.

Roleplay and strategy CAN go together in this game. And work. And we generally get our scenarios done in four hours which is the target time for most convention slots.

And your post has reinforced my assertion is that the best way to kill interest in PFS play is to prematurely expose new players to these messageboards.


I remember one scenario where there was a puzzle door that we had to open. Nobody had the right skill to roll to figure it out, and nobody wanted to do the obviously trapped solution. So i drank my stonefist extract and my mutagen and punched the door down. It was a stone door, several inches thick, we broke that sucker down under a silence spell. The enemy on the other side didn't have a chance. Another scenario we had the barbarian destroy the ceiling which dropped the BBEG in the room above into a square surround by readied actions. GM was pretty sure that wasn't an intended solution, but we checked the HP and likely thickness of the floor, and barbarian did more than enough damage to make a hole. The barbarian with his adamantine 2 handed hammer should rename it to "skill check".

These 2 adventure was in a PUG group that had independently effective characters. I've played in adventures with party members that weren't independently effective, and it nearly always results in long boring combats, or character deaths.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

notabot wrote:

@Jiggy

A 20 at first level gives up too much for to little.

Agreed. I often give new PFS players looking for advice the following cautionary tale:

I've GM'd a couple dozen tables of PFS. Only once have I tun a TPK, and it was the time that half the party had 20s in their "primary" stats. The much more reasonably-built paladin of the group was almost able to carry them through the scenario. Almost.

Meanwhile, my most recently made PFS character has pre-racial stats of 14/14/13/13/12/12, and he's doing great. My currently highest-level PC (9th level) started with his highest stat (after racial adjustment) as a 17.


I don't know if some of you are getting the point of this thread... if a 0 XP character sits down with 4 third level characters and has a character that isn't specialized, they're going to have a bad time because whatever they can do, someone else can do better. If you give them a combat-effective character that can hold their own starting from 0 XP, they'll actually be contributing to the group, and that will make it a more fun experience. Sure, the min/maxing to get a 20 stat might be over the top, but it's also a good way to add some oomph when everyone else is far more powerful than you are.

If you think these builds won't be fun, post your own balanced builds that you think would be more fun for a 0 XP character sitting down with four random third-level PCs. Of course it can be done, but generally it will push them into more of a support role (which depending on the player might not be as satisfying,) and the fact that they're only playing a single session will mean they won't get to use some of their capabilities.


RumpinRufus wrote:

I don't know if some of you are getting the point of this thread... if a 0 XP character sits down with 4 third level characters and has a character that isn't specialized, they're going to have a bad time because whatever they can do, someone else can do better. If you give them a combat-effective character that can hold their own starting from 0 XP, they'll actually be contributing to the group, and that will make it a more fun experience. Sure, the min/maxing to get a 20 stat might be over the top, but it's also a good way to add some oomph when everyone else is far more powerful than you are.

If you think these builds won't be fun, post your own balanced builds that you think would be more fun for a 0 XP character sitting down with four random third-level PCs. Of course it can be done, but generally it will push them into more of a support role (which depending on the player might not be as satisfying,) and the fact that they're only playing a single session will mean they won't get to use some of their capabilities.

Oh man - that amount of level inequity is a terrible idea for tabletop encounter-heavy gaming. Is that common in PFS? I've only played in it at conventions, and my University gaming club runs a PFS-ish sort of event with rotating GM's - but it's house-ruled pretty far away from standard. That's a pretty solid way to actively discourage new players, which is kind of the opposite of what I thought PFS was trying to do.

Sigh.

If you've got a 2-level discrepancy, then forget about being a direct combatant. An archer bard w/lots of skills sounds about right - handle those social checks, inspire courage, and for the love of Desna never get into melee. Play an interesting character that can still contribute something, but accept that mechanically, you're going to be a second-class citizen in combat.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

3 people marked this as a favorite.
RumpinRufus wrote:
If you think these builds won't be fun, post your own balanced builds that you think would be more fun for a 0 XP character sitting down with four random third-level PCs.

Human Ranger 1

STR 18 (16+2)
DEX 14
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 13
CHA 10

Greatsword and some medium armor. Power Attack and Toughness. That's 14 HP, some moderate AC, and good damage. Pretty much the same concept as the other greatsword builds suggested, only with 7 trained skills so that, in addition to combat, the player can learn about other options and have a better chance of deciding what they'd really like to play.

--------------------

Human Fighter 1
STR 14
DEX 18 (16+2)
CON 12
INT 10
WIS 11
CHA 12

Point-blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot, and a bow. They learn about being an archer, and maybe you have a rank in Diplomacy (plus a trait to make it a class skill) so they can learn about social skills. You get to tell them about composite bows that they can get later.

---------------------

Human Rogue 1
STR 12
DEX 18
CON 14
INT 08
WIS 12
CHA 13

Weapon Finesse and Toughness. They learn tactical movement, they can help outside of combat with a variety of skills, etc. They can really get a taste of multiple possibilities and move on toward their own character.

---------------------

Human Cleric 1
STR 16 (14+2)
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 14
CHA 10

Medium armor and a buckler, give them some cool domains, and Toughness and maybe Dodge or Extra Channel. They can wade into melee, they can cast buff spells (helpful even if they're hopelessly out-leveled) and can decide get an idea of a cleric's versatility and decide if they want to be more gung-ho melee or more of a "straight caster".

---------------------
---------------------

I could go on. Basically, the idea is to hand a new player something that lets them be good at one thing but able to taste multiple things so they can decide for themselves what's fun. Also, it's best to start them on something that doesn't require them to buy four books to keep playing.


Jiggy wrote:
taste multiple things

You mean vanilla, vanilla bean, French vanilla, and vanilla custard? :p

Maybe your idea of a fun time is playing a character whose only feats are Toughness and Dodge, I don't know how many first-timers would agree.


Money, meet mouth.

Human Halfling Bard 1
STR 8
DEX 18 (Including the +2 Racial)
CON 12
INT 13
WIS 10
CHA 18 (Including the +2 Racial)

Light Armor, Shortbow, whip & Rapier.

Take the Feat that grants two traits (as I don't think that you get traits in PFS, unless I'm mistaken) and us it to pick up Helpful (Halfling) and either Maestro of the society (to help their Bardic Performance keep up with the higher level party) or Magical Lineage for Happy Grease times (Extend, Enlarge, Focused, etc.) later on. Or another trait that fits the concept, you know.

The main idea is to get that +4 on aid another checks - out of combat, you'll get to ensure that everybody's succeeding wildly, and you've always got something to contribute. In-combat, use the whip or rapier to do aid another actions, granting the inevitable 2-handed power attacker a huge to-hit bonus, to go with your Inspire Courage to-hit bonus, and make friends for life!

This would, I think, be a character that can viable contribute - albeit in an indirect fashion - in just about every encounter, while letting the player poke at different things, and joining in pretty much whenever dice are rolled. A good introduction to Pathfinder, Society, and the world.

If this person is new to RPGs in general, I'd frankly avoid bringing them in to this kind of situation in the first place - most First Characters I've seen have a pretty strong lean towards being The Hero.

When you're 2 levels behind the party, you're not the hero, and with per-game XP, you will always be inferior to your buddies, mechanically speaking.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

RumpinRufus wrote:
Maybe your idea of a fun time is playing a character whose only feats are Toughness and Dodge, I don't know how many first-timers would agree.

Well which is it? My idea of a fun time, or what "many first-timers" would like? Having GM'd for lots of new PFS players, I've found that they tend not to keep up with things that they have to activate or remember - it's as likely as not to overwhelm them. "Passive" feats or abilities are great for newbies, as they can focus on learning basic mechanics.

I recently ran a couple of new-to-RPGs friends through First Steps Part 1. Pregen Merisiel was thoroughly enjoyed, despite being "vanilla". I guarantee you that the same player would NOT have enjoyed trying to stay on top of all the details of my five-book tiefling cleric.

What an experienced player thinks is awesome (I do love me some complicated builds) is not necessarily fun or engaging for a newbie.

...Unless of course by "newbie" you're meaning "new to PFS but already familiar with Pathfinder and/or 3.5".


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I must admit, I hate the spirit of this thread. After reading the OP and some of the replies, somehow the only thing I come away with is people trying to break the game and if you're not optimized you are somehow diminishing your experience of the game.

Of course, the latter is simply not true. I approach a new character with a concept first, then manipulate the numbers to fit the concept if possible. This is not optimal in most people's view but makes for fun roleplay opportunities and, to steal a quote from above, "keeps the game interesting."

It's the number crunchers that make the game boring and they're the most annoying players I have to deal with. They typically get upset when their "optimized" character is rendered useless in many situations because they are usually one-dimensional.

Sczarni

Wait wait wait...shouldn't this be more along the lines of "Best 5th-7th Level Builds for PFS"? Those first few levels are jokes (short of the First Steps because that one is just a PC killer and the PFS guys admitted that) and the main part of PFS where you should be concerned for your life and the life of everyone is right around levels 5-7 when ish gets real.

If someone is new to Pathfinder and PFS the BEST builds for them are the pregens. Simple, straight forward and basic is the way to go. Making overly complicated builds that they have to keep looking up their abilities for quickly turns off the player. Give them a few nice skills you know they will use (Diplomacy, Disable Device, etc.) so they seem important in the story as well, and BOOM you have a hooked player.

Not to mention if I were building an Intimidate player it would be a Half Orc Intimiquisitor fo sho!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Grummik wrote:
It's the number crunchers that make the game boring and they're the most annoying players I have to deal with. They typically get upset when their "optimized" character is rendered useless in many situations because they are usually one-dimensional.

Hey now, let's not associate "number crunching" with the one-dimensional-PC-creating whiners; I spent WEEKS crunching numbers to settle on my 16/14/13/12/15/10 tiefling cleric with options from 5 books (and two convention boons), who happens to be anything BUT one-dimensional! ;)


Jiggy wrote:
Grummik wrote:
It's the number crunchers that make the game boring and they're the most annoying players I have to deal with. They typically get upset when their "optimized" character is rendered useless in many situations because they are usually one-dimensional.
Hey now, let's not associate "number crunching" with the one-dimensional-PC-creating whiners; I spent WEEKS crunching numbers to settle on my 16/14/13/12/15/10 tiefling cleric with options from 5 books (and two convention boons), who happens to be anything BUT one-dimensional! ;)

Jiggy, I think you would be the exception, not the rule. ;)

I read a couple of your posts and you seem to approach the game in a manner I respect. I also GM quite a bit for PFS and your observations are spot on imo.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber

I feel like the goalposts are constantly moving in this particular conversation. At first the question was asked what is a good level 1 build to introduce new players to PFS and after looking at the one trick pony optimized to either be amazing in combat or useless depending on the type of creatures fought I spoke up and disagreed and said a more generalist PC for a new player was a better idea one that allowed them flexibility in both combat and non-combat situations. That was shot down because I was told that no these new players were going to be playing with other players using level 2 characters who were heavily optimized. Jiggy then posted some great builds to introduce a new player to PFS, builds that once again let the new player feel their way around how combat and noncombat interactions worked. These builds were dismissed as being vanilla and useless when played in a party of level 3 experienced players who were highly optimized for combat. The fact of the matter if you are putting your new PFS players in that situation there is nothing that will let them feel as if they are contributing to the combat. Either the table will be playing down at 1-2 and the combats will be 1 round jokes which aren't any fun or they will be playing up at 4-5 and the combats will be so tough that a 1st level player will be hard pressed to live let alone contribute.

Once again I agree that the pregens are somewhat terrible and possibly not the best introduction to PFS. What is a good introduction is a well designed character that has functionality in combat and out of combat. A character that has options for ranged and melee when in combat, a character that has opportunities for creativity. I make sure a new player has a flask of alchemists fire, a rope, some light and a few gold left over so that after they hear their mission they can purchase something that they think might be useful. I focus on spells with multiple uses like grease, I make sure they have a cantrip that they can use every round of combat. Sure they may be a bit vanilla to someone who has played PFS for years and owns all the books but for a new player vanilla isn't a bad thing, it is a solid foundation for them to build on.

Jiggy great characters and solid designs for new players to experience PFS with. Now I know every area is different but at least in our area people have a ton of builds they haven't been able to play so when offered the opportunity to start a new level one to run a mod with a new player or two they are happy to do so.


Killstring, I love the bard build. Buffing is no fun, but rolling dice to add +4 to pretty much anything definitely makes for a good time because you know you're directly contributing.

Grummik wrote:

I must admit, I hate the spirit of this thread. After reading the OP and some of the replies, somehow the only thing I come away with is people trying to break the game and if you're not optimized you are somehow diminishing your experience of the game.

Of course, the latter is simply not true. I approach a new character with a concept first, then manipulate the numbers to fit the concept if possible. This is not optimal in most people's view but makes for fun roleplay opportunities and, to steal a quote from above, "keeps the game interesting."

It's the number crunchers that make the game boring and they're the most annoying players I have to deal with. They typically get upset when their "optimized" character is rendered useless in many situations because they are usually one-dimensional.

Once again, ENTIRELY missing the point of this thread. The WHOLE POINT is that these players don't come with a character concept. Everyone agrees that a personalized character with a backstory you wrote will be more fun than a pre-gen. But when a player shows up at gametime without a character sheet, they don't have time to be walked through the classes, think up a concept, develop a personality, and then stat out a character.

Additionally, these characters are almost certainly playing at a table with more advanced characters played by more experienced players. If you hand them a crummy pre-gen whose abilities are entirely duplicated by higher-level party members, they're going to feel worthless and have a bad time.

Jiggy wrote:
I guarantee you that the same player would NOT have enjoyed trying to stay on top of all the details of my five-book tiefling cleric.

You keep referring to how many books they draw from... have you ever heard of Google? Additionally, for new players it's a good idea anyways to make a "cheat sheet" that shows them all of their combat capabilities on a single page. (I've bought .pdfs of the books but I can't imagine scrolling through them at the table, much less flipping through a bunch of physical books.)

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Here's my suggestion:

Elf Fighter (Lore Warden) 1
STR 14
DEX 18 (16+2)
CON 12 (14-2)
INT 14 (12+2)
WIS 12
CHA 7

Feats:
Power Attack
Weapon Finesse

Traits:
Highlander
Rice Runner

Grab an Elven Curved Blade, and attack at +4 for 1d10+6. With some studded leather armor, you've got 17 AC, good Ref and Fort saves, and 11 HP. You get 6 skill ranks, and traits get you Stealth and Acrobatics as class skills, so you'll be playing a nimble, brainy fighter. Let the player pick the knowledge skills they want, so it's customized a little.


Tels wrote:
No penalty for Power Attacking. Furious Focus removes the Power Attack penalty for your first attack. Since you only have 1 attack in a round (short of Two-Weapon Fighting) until 6th level, Furious Focus is better than Weapon Focus. A Power Attack, Furious Focus, Weapon Focus character would probably dish out more damage, but less HP. Though I think a bonus of 3 hp vs a Power Attacking Barbarian isn't really all that useful.

And until 4th, FF and WF are the same. But you may want WF for WS. In either case, greatsword beats the falchion at 1.


Vestrial wrote:
Tels wrote:
No penalty for Power Attacking. Furious Focus removes the Power Attack penalty for your first attack. Since you only have 1 attack in a round (short of Two-Weapon Fighting) until 6th level, Furious Focus is better than Weapon Focus. A Power Attack, Furious Focus, Weapon Focus character would probably dish out more damage, but less HP. Though I think a bonus of 3 hp vs a Power Attacking Barbarian isn't really all that useful.
And until 4th, FF and WF are the same. But you may want WF for WS. In either case, greatsword beats the falchion at 1.

Not the same, because Weapon Focus gets you a +1 to attacks of opportunity, unlike Furious Focus. Unless he's switching weapons a lvl1 wants Weapon Focus.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

To the person above - PFS you definitely DO get traits (2 by default) and those are a great way to customize a build and round it out.

That said the feat for Extra Traits can be great fun for the right build - but I wouldn't recommend it for someone building a new 1st level character for a new player. Traits are good and some combinations are likely better than many feats but there are so many key early feats for most build concepts that getting two additional traits probably will result in a character that struggles with key roles.

When I help someone build a new 1st level character (or come up with one for myself) I think they should be looking at how they can handle at least two roles within the party - and where they want to go with the character. Traits can be a great way to add a new capability to a character. The choice of Race can also offer a lot of options (both directly in terms of basic racial features like the Human bonus feat and indirectly in terms of alternative racial features, racial alternatives to favored class bonuses and racial only archetypes and feats.

Speaking of archetypes I think they are often a fantastic option for people to explore - especially if a class has features they aren't thrilled about (mounts for cavaliers for example) or if they would like to do something a bit different. For example while much about the Alchemist interests me for many reasons Poisons are not very interesting to me in the least - so archetypes that offer alternatives to poison interest me.

Many classes have lots of ways to customize them - Clerical domains, Oracle Mysteries etc. All of these can be overwhelming for a new player (but are also great things to try out for a few games and explore retraining if you aren't liking them)

I would also tend to suggest that players focus on building a character that is good in nearly all circumstances vs one that is overly optimized for one specific type of foe. Sure you will be the party hero when you go up against that one type of foe (the pre-gen Kyra & Undead is a minor example of this) but against many other things you will struggle and won't contribute as much as you might otherwise.

But swap out a few things on the basic Kyra template for a cleric of Sarenrae and you can have a cleric that is also a bit of a blaster (Fire Domain instead of Sun) and who has lots of other tricks up her sleeve.

Star Voter 2014

I put this thread in the advice forum for people to build elite level 1s for new people or people not wanting or able to make ones themselves.

If this was in the general discussion your opinions would matter if this is right or wrong to do. If you do not like it or want to give advice then do not add to this.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.

we're saying there's no such thing as an elite build at lvl1. If you're wanting to build an "elite" lvl 1 for PFS... just go to any of the advice threads, and stop looking at anything you can't get at lvl 1. it a) does not need it's thread b) does not require the thought you think it does and c) will never accomplish what you're hoping it will.


IMHO, PFS is a team effort, so I like the idea of Halfling Bard that specializes in helping other people.

Bard 1 NG Small Humanoid (halfling)
Init +4; Senses Perception +2
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 18, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +4 Dex, +1 size)
hp 8 (1d8)
Fort +1, Ref +7, Will +3; +2 vs. fear
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 20 ft.
Melee Net +1 (+0 Bab +1 Size +4 Dex targets Touch AC)
Special Attacks Bardic Performance
Bard Spells Known (CL 1, +0 melee touch, +5 ranged touch):
1 (2/day) Sleep (DC 14), Cure Light Wounds (DC 14)
0 (at will) Ghost Sound (DC 13), Mending, Message, Light
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 8, Dex 19, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 17
Base Atk +0; CMB -2; CMD 12
Feats Bard Weapon Proficiencies, Lucky Halfling (1/day)
Traits Helpful, Maestro of the Society
Skills Acrobatics +5 (+1 jump), Climb +0, Escape Artist +3, Fly +5, Knowledge (arcana) +5, Knowledge (nature) +5, Knowledge (planes) +5, Knowledge (religion) +1, Perception +2, Perform (comedy) +7, Perform (oratory) +7, Ride +3, Spellcraft +4, Stealth +11, Swim -2
Languages Common, Halfling
Combat Gear Net (2), Studded leather armor;
Other Gear Pathfinder's kit
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
Bardic Knowledge +1 (Ex) Add + 1 to all knowledge skill checks.
Bardic Performance (standard action) (10 rounds/day)

  • Bardic Performance: Countersong (Su) Counter magical effects that depend on sound.
  • Bardic Performance: Distraction (Su) Counter magical effects that depend on sight.
  • Bardic Performance: Fascinate (1 targets) (DC 13) (Su) One or more creatures becomes fascinated with you.
  • Bardic Performance: Inspire Courage +1 (Su) Morale bonus on some saving throws, attack and damage rolls.

Fearless +2 racial bonus vs Fear saves.
Helpful Aid another grants allies a +4 bonus (instead of usual +2).
Lucky Halfling (1/day) 1/day, roll a saving throw for an ally along with them. They may use either result.
Maestro of the Society +3 rounds of Bardic Performance a day.


Xena, Warrior Princess option:

Human Fighter 1
Str 16, Dex 16 (14+2), Con 12, Int 12, wis 12, cha 9
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quick Draw
Traits: Vagabond Child (Sleight of Hand), Reactionary
Skills: Climb, Sleight of Hand, Survival, Intimidate
Equipment: Chakram (x10), Longsword, Heavy Wooden Shield, Chain Shirt

In combat, throw the chakram as much as you can (+5 to hit, 1d8+4 dam within 30', same to hit and damage as a str 18 longsword wielder), and when you have to melee, pull out the sword anyway. Your AC is 19, and you still have a 30' move.

Out of combat, you have Sleight of hand for filching items, Intimidate for social siuations, Survival to handle being outdoors or tracking, and Climb to get over obstacles.

Simple, easy to understand concept for someone new to pathfinder that is different than your regular two hander.


@Arizhel

Like the concept and build, hate the stat array.

You give up too much for the 19 and 17 for far too little mechanical advantage (which won't be realized till levels 4 and 8), and the HP is lower than i would be comfortable with.

Bards don't really need higher than a 16 Char, the +1 for eventually getting an 18 can be gotten with a headband if you really care, and the spells are almost secondary on bards anyways (they usually have so many things they can do they don't really need the extra spell per day TBH, and when it matters, 4th level spells, you could just have the item bonus).

In all honestly, I would just go with 16 dex and 15 Cha (after racials), and get those other stats boosted up. level 4 you can boost the Cha to 16 and get headbands late levels to boost even further.


lantzkev wrote:
we're saying there's no such thing as an elite build at lvl1. If you're wanting to build an "elite" lvl 1 for PFS... just go to any of the advice threads, and stop looking at anything you can't get at lvl 1. it a) does not need it's thread b) does not require the thought you think it does and c) will never accomplish what you're hoping it will.

A THOUSAND TIMES>>THIS!!!

Star Voter 2014

Conundrum if you do not wish to add to this then don't. I thought all of you ideas, suggestions, and reviewing of these were very poor. You are not adding by sayign this.

To almost everyone else thank you very much.


So I sat down to re-think the bardic build, and I came up with the following:

  • Skills/Feats/Traits selection designed to maximize the potential of others, not to maximize the bard herself.

    The points I reconsidered were:
    1) If the bard focuses on Buffs, and spells that DO NOT require saves, Cha is irrelevant past 16.
    2) Small size grants the bonus of +1 to hit, +1 to AC, and a Medium Mount can be used in almost any dungeon/city/wilderness area. (no muse touched Azata Aasimar, though that would be the second best race choice for the build.)
    3) After a while, the rounds of bardic performance are more than needed, so replaced trait with Self-Sacrifice trait.

    You won't be the star, but you are the MVP.

    This bard is without any gear. I would personally buy :

  • Studded Leather Armor
  • Net (2) [Special: DO NOT waste a feat on Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Net. This weapon hits Touch AC; the -4 non proficiency penalty is largely nullified by the fact you ignore armor.]
  • Pathfinder's Kit

    At level 1.
    Best Ideas:
    1) Use dagger to attempt to hit to Aid Other, preferably from flanking. (you hit AC 10, and grant +4 to your ally's attack, +6 if flanking!). Don't worry about actually dealing damage.
    2) Use nets, and hand the rope off to BSF to control as needed. Buy an immovable Rod at some point to tie the held end of the rope to.
    3) Don't make checks if you aren't the best person for the check. Aid Other instead. You will give them a +4. DCs are commonly as high as 25 at level 1. Granting a +4 is better than taking your own best shot.

    Female Halfling Bard 1
    NG Small Humanoid (halfling)
    Init +3; Senses Perception +6
    --------------------
    Defense
    --------------------
    AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+3 Dex, +1 size)
    hp 10 (1d8+2)
    Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +3; +2 vs. fear
    --------------------
    Offense
    --------------------
    Speed 20 ft.
    Special Attacks Bardic Performance (standard action) (6 rounds/day, Bardic Performance: Countersong, Bardic Performance: Distraction, Bardic Performance: Fascinate (1 targets) (DC 12), Bardic Performance: Inspire Courage +1
    Bard Spells Known (CL 1, +2 melee touch, +4 ranged touch):
    1 (2/day) Silent Image (DC 13), Cure Light Wounds (DC 13)
    0 (at will) Ghost Sound (DC 12), Detect Magic, Mending, Message
    --------------------
    Statistics
    --------------------
    Str 12, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 15
    Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 13
    Feats Bard Weapon Proficiencies, Lucky Halfling (1/day)
    Traits Helpful, Self-Sacrifice
    Skills Acrobatics +7 (+3 jump), Diplomacy +6, Fly +5, Linguistics +5, Perception +6, Perform (comedy) +6, Perform (oratory) +6, Ride +5, Spellcraft +5, Stealth +7, Use Magic Device +6
    Languages Common, Halfling, Kelish, Varisian
    SQ Bardic Knowledge +1, Fearless

    --------------------
    TRACKED RESOURCES
    --------------------
    Bardic Performance (standard action) (6 rounds/day) - 0/6
    Lucky Halfling (1/day) - 0/1
    --------------------
    Special Abilities
    --------------------
    Bardic Knowledge +1 (Ex) Add + 1 to all knowledge skill checks.
    Bardic Performance (standard action) (6 rounds/day) Your performances can create magical effects.
    Bardic Performance: Countersong (Su) Counter magical effects that depend on sound.
    Bardic Performance: Distraction (Su) Counter magical effects that depend on sight.
    Bardic Performance: Fascinate (1 targets) (DC 12) (Su) One or more creatures becomes fascinated with you.
    Bardic Performance: Inspire Courage +1 (Su) Morale bonus on some saving throws, attack and damage rolls.
    Fearless +2 racial bonus vs Fear saves.
    Helpful Aid another grants allies a +4 bonus (instead of usual +2).
    Lucky Halfling (1/day) 1/day, roll a saving throw for an ally along with them. They may use either result.
    Self-Sacrifice Move action can grant soft cover to adjacent allier regardless of size.

  • Lingering Performance at 3
  • Cha to 16 at 4
  • Dex at 8 and 12
  • Don't waste skill ranks on skills taken care of by Versatile Performance.
  • Pick things that help others.

  • Star Voter 2014

    I like your bards. I am not that great in the rules for them, but I will definately write this one down.


    I like that build much better. Really shored up the issues i had with the previous build, and got rid of the weaknesses that i saw.

    I don't really like CLW in PFS, cause 1 adventure in, or other players should be able to hand you their wands (even BSF should have wand to hand off). In combat healing is also suboptimal most of the time, so save your actions for things that end the combat quicker. Its just my experience that PFS you should spend your first PA on CLW wands, even if you can't use them, somebody in the party should be able to. Its rude to ask party members to expend their personal wealth healing you (though most people cut lvl 1 no xp characters slack in that department as long as they pack at least a potion or scroll).


    I am not a fan past level 2, but bards can swap out spells. CLW will go away to make room for Grease eventually.

    As a helper Bard, the spells will be (By Level):

    4 Dimension Door, Song of Kyonin, Virtuoso Performance
    3 Blink, Haste, See Invisibility
    2 Mirror Image, Invisibility, Alter Self, Blur, Glitterdust
    1 Moment of Greatness, Silent Image, Grease, Saving Finale
    0 Read Magic, Ghost Sound (DC 13), Mage Hand, Detect Magic, Mending, Message

    Fly etc. could be added depending on who was covering what in the group

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